Ablative Non-Fractional Laser Skin Resurfacing
Ablative non-fractional skin resurfacing treatments remove layers of skin to reveal a younger and brighter complexion. The ablative lasers are powerful and vaporize tissue, allowing for new skin to form in its place. This is the most aggressive form of laser skin resurfacing.
Ablative Non-Fractional Laser Skin Resurfacing
- avg. recovery
About the Procedure
The lasers used in this procedure are ablative, meaning that they vaporize tissue with intense heat. This makes the lasers more aggressive than their non-ablative counterparts, which leave the skin intact. The non-fractional nature of the procedure delivers the lasers across the entire surface of the treatment area as opposed to fractional lasers, which focus lasers on direct sections. The non-fractional approach can lead to a longer recovery period. The cost of non-fractional ablative skin resurfacing ranges from approximately $1,000-$3,000 depending on the size and number of treatments needed. Ablative lasers are administered to stimulate collagen growth and tighten underlying skin. The treatment in effect eliminates older pigmented skin and therefore, stimulates collagen remodeling. Ablative non-fractional lasers are the most aggressive lasers used for laser resurfacing. The two most common types of resurfacing lasers are CO2 lasers and erbium lasers. CO2 lasers are used for the treatment of wrinkles, scars, warts and other conditions whereas Erbium lasers are used to remove superficial and deep lines and wrinkles on the face, hands, neck, and chest. The erbium laser bears fewer side effects than CO2 lasers. Examples of ablative non-fractional lasers include the 10,600 nm CO2 laser Ultra Pulse, AcuPulse and Matrix LS-40 and the 2940 nm Er:YAG laser NaturaLase, Controur TRL and SmoothPeel. Depending on the laser used, a topical or local anesthetic may be applied to numb the skin. Some laser devices will have a cooling element built into the hand-piece to reduce the discomfort felt by the patient. The laser will then be expertly applied to the treatment area, targeting uneven skin texture, irregular pigmentation, fine lines, and other skin imperfections. The provider will closely monitor the skin to ensure an effective but comfortable session. Once the skin has been thoroughly treated, a soothing serum or ointment will be applied and a bandage may be applied to the skin.
Ablative non-fractional laser skin resurfacing is used to reduce skin imperfections. Sun damage, fine lines or wrinkles, skin laxity, brown spots, blotchiness, scars and certain precancerous growths can be addressed with laser skin resurfacing.
What to Expect
Ablative non-fractional skin resurfacing treatments remove layers of skin to reveal a younger and brighter complexion. This is the most aggressive form of laser skin resurfacing. Here is a quick guide for what to expect before, during, and after non-fractional ablative skin resurfacing.
- Avoid sun exposure
- Avoid harsh exfoliating products for 1 week
- No alcohol 1 week before and after treatment
- Artificial tanning and tanning products should be stopped
- Topical or local anesthetic
- Laser is applied to the treatment area, targeting uneven skin texture, irregular pigmentation, fine lines, and other skin imperfections
- Once treated, a serum or ointment will be applied
- Bandage may be applied to the skin
Following an ablative non-fractional laser skin resurfacing treatment, skin will be raw, swollen, and itchy. After treatment a thick, hydrating ointment will be applied and a protective dressing will cover the skin. Treated skin will remain pink or red for several months even once new skin has formed after 2 weeks. While results will be dramatic following recovery, it is important to avoid unprotected sun exposure so as not to reverse the outcome and create irregular skin pigmentation.
The ideal candidate for ablative non-fractional laser resurfacing has sun-damaged skin with wrinkling around the eyes and mouth as well as skin laxity in the lower eyelid area, has experienced irregular changes in skin color, such as blotchiness or brown spots, has scars that have made the surface of the skin uneven, or has certain precancerous skin growths.
Not Recommended For
Ablative non-fractional laser resurfacing is not recommended for use on darker skin tones due to risk of hypopigmentation.
Side effects from ablative non-fractional skin resurfacing may include burns or other injuries from the laser's heat, scarring, changes in the skin's pigmentation (including areas of darker or lighter skin), reactivating herpes cold sores, bacterial infection, and milia may appear in the laser-treated areas during healing.